Can Your Parents Open A Credit Card In Your Name?

By Bruce Boswell •  Updated: 12/14/21 •  6 min read
Filed under: Credit Cards

Have your parents opened a credit card in your name and you want to know if it’s okay? Are you a student strapped for cash? Perhaps they have discussed ways you could boost your credit score and want to know more about it? Or maybe you are a little confused and would like some more information?

Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you! 

Can Your Parents Open A Credit Card In Your Name

Credit cards can be a scary thing, especially if you have never had one before. So when your parents offer to open one in your name and use it, it can seem like a fantastic idea. You can have your credit score built up for you without the hassle, providing access to better loans and mortgages down the line. 

But what happens when it all goes wrong and there’s piling debt in your name. Soon you start to wonder, was this ever a good idea? Should I have agreed to this? You find yourself asking whether it is okay for parents to open a credit card in your name or not. 

And that’s where we come in! We have all the answers for you, so keep reading to see if parents can open a credit card in your name and what you need to be aware of. 

Can Your Parents Open A Credit Card In Your Name?

Yes, your parents can open a credit card in your name, but only in certain situations. They can also pay your bill for you. The Credit CARD Act prevents anyone under the age of 21 from having a credit card unless they have a cosigner or a source of income. In these cases, your parents can co-sign the credit card with you, allowing you to have access to a card. 

A co-signed card can be an excellent way to build up your credit score or allow you to make a larger purchase, such as a car to get you to and from job interviews. However, you need to treat these cards with care.

As your parent has co-signed, they too will have access to the credit card, meaning they can rack up debt that you will be liable to pay. Not ideal! 

When co-signing a credit card with your parents, it’s best to have an open and honest conversation with them beforehand.

Although it can feel a bit like a role reversal to sit down with your parents this way, agreeing on what the card will be used for, who will be making the payments, and even setting a limit on how much you can spend can help keep the card under control and ensure that debt doesn’t mount up. 

Another avenue some parents explore is to take out a credit card in your name without telling you. This can not only be extremely dangerous, but it is a crime too! Identity fraud is a serious crime and affects millions of people across the globe.

These days, credit cards are super easy to apply for and can often be done online with very little proof of identification. And as your parents know a lot about you, it can be easy to fill in the application and get approved for a credit card. 

They can even do this without your knowledge and leave you with payments that you cannot make. You might find statements arriving with payments on them that you know nothing about, and this can be very worrying.

It can also impact your credit score if you miss these payments or high-interest payments if you cannot clear the debt in full. 

It’s important to remember that your parents cannot open a credit card in your name without your consent. You should not let anyone have access to your credit card, even if you trust them, as it can be all too easy for debt to mount up and it’s you that has to foot the bill!

Unless the credit card has been co-signed and you have had a frank conversation with your parents, the only person opening a credit card in your name should be you. 

What Should I Do If My Parents Open A Credit Card In My Name?

Now, this can be tricky, but if your parents have opened a credit card in your name, then it is identity theft and that is a crime. It can be hard and put a strain on family relationships, but you will need to report the theft. You can do this by filing a police report.

To do this, pay a visit to your nearest police station and be sure to get a copy of the report, as you will need to use this as proof to show lenders your identity was stolen. 

When filling in your report, provide as much information as you possibly can. Copies of the statements from the credit card and proof of your own identity are essential.

You will want to provide only the facts of the story and name all the accounts that are fraudulent so that you can prove to lenders that it was not you racking up the debt. 

Don’t forget to get a copy of your police report once you have completed it. 

Next, you will want to remove any debt that was incurred. In serious cases of identity theft, they will have as many cards out as possible and max them out to get as much money from you. Your parents might have done this, or there might just be one or two cards out. 

You will need to check your credit report (you can do this for free online) and see which cards and accounts were opened without your consent. Once you have this information, contact the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and speak to their fraud divisions.

Explain the citation and tell them which accounts are fraudulent and provide the proof in the form of your police report. 

You will then want to contact the creditors that you found in your credit report and explain the situation. Provide them with the police report as proof that you are the victim of identity theft and they will work to ensure that you are not responsible for the debt. 

Ideally, you want to do all of this as soon as you suspect identity theft. You then might want to freeze your credit, change passwords, and take other steps to protect yourself from further identity theft.

If you have any questions, be sure to speak to a financial expert who can guide you through the process.

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it! Although it is easy for your parents to open a credit card in your name, they should not be doing it. Instead, you should consider a co-signed credit card, or wait until you can open the card yourself.

Don’t forget to follow the steps above if your parents have opened credit cards in your name and to contact a credit expert if you have any questions. 

We have another article for emancipated minors, check this out if this is you.

Bruce BoswellBruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell enjoys researching and writing about all things related to investing and saving money. Whenever he has a chance, Bruce loves travelling all around the world with his wife and trying new foods.